Come join us on the most famous trek in Peru. You’ll visit mysterious archaeological sites, learn about healthy, sustainable Peruvian food and cuisine, and immerse yourself in Andean mountain ecosystems rich in flora and fauna. The trek begins with an Andean Blessing and offering to Pachamama (the Earth Mother) performed by an Andean Shaman. Following four days of mountain discovery and education, you’ll stand tall in the Sungate and watch a glorious sunrise break over Machu Picchu before descending to the ruins to explore them for yourself.
Day 1: Cusco – Wayllabamba
Day 2: Wayllabamba – Pacaymayo
Day 3: Pacaymayo to Wiñaywayna
Day 4: Wiñaywayna to Machu Picchu
Early in the morning, we will travel with our experienced guides and shamans to Piscacucho, the trailhead for the trek. Once there, you’ll participate in a traditional Andean Blessing ceremony to guarantee safe passage before starting on your journey. We’ll cross the bridge over the Urubamba River and walk along the south bank, shortly arriving at Miskay and ascending to the highest part of the look-out, the impressive Inca city of Llactapata. We’ll continue through the valley created by the Cusichaca River and climb gradually until we reach Wayllabamba, our first campsite. We’ll enjoy spectacular views of the Vilcanota Ridgeline on the opposite side of the Urubamba River, where the impressive 5832m Veronica Peak reigns supreme, while also observing the diversity of flora and fauna that can be found throughout the valley.
After a traditional Andean breakfast, we begin the most difficult part of the trek. As we climb, the landscape changes from sierra to puna (a high, dry grassland with little other vegetation). On the way to the first mountain pass, the Abra Warmihuañusca (“Dead Woman’s Pass”), we’ll see domesticated llamas and alpacas and cross an area of cloud forest, the habitat for many different kinds of birds, such as hummingbirds and sparrows. Immediately after the pass, we’ll descend into the Pacaymayo Valley and enjoy a large traditional Peruvian dinner and culinary explanation from the lead chef.
Prepare yourself for the longest and most impressive day of your trek. The climb from Pacaymayo takes us to the second pass, the Abra Runkurakay, and a stop at the Runkurakay archaeological complex consisting of a small oval watchtower. After going over the pass, we descend towards Yanacocha (Black Lagoon) and enter the cloud forest to arrive at Sayacmarca, a beautiful complex made up of semicircular constructions, enclosures at different levels, narrow streets, liturgical fountains, patios and irrigation canals. Continuing up a gentle ascent, we’ll arrive at the third pass, Abra Phuyupatamarca, meaning “Town over the clouds.” Our guides will take you on a short tour of the site, fully immersing you in the ethereal mists and energy of the site. Lose yourself in the moment here.
We’ll next descend the long stone stairways that lead you to Winay Wayna, an impressive Inca complex made up of an agricultural center with numerous terraces, plus religious and urban sectors. After exploring the site, we’ll enjoy our farewell dinner at our nearby camp.
On this fourth and last day, we’ll leave Wiñay Wayna before dawn to climb up to Inti Punku (“The Sun Gate”). From this holy gateway, we’ll witness the first rays of sun beaming over the mountains and shining down onto the citadel of Machu Picchu. We descend from Inti Punku to Machu Picchu and enter the citadel through the “House of the Guardians.” Next begins a guided spiritual tour of this sacred Inca citadel, including a climb up to Huayna Picchu and visit to the Temple of the Moon. Following this day full of winding stairways, trails and exploration of one of the world’s greatest wonders, we’ll meet in the town of Aguas Calientes. From here we board the train back to Cusco, arriving at your hotel after nightfall.
* The Departure and arrival times are approximate.
** Campsites are subject to change according to the designation of the governmental institution that regulates the use of the Inca Trail as well as to our guide’s criteria and the group progress.
* An extra porter to carry your personal items: US$ 145.00 / 4 days. A porter can carry up 15 kg, which should be enough for 2 people, leaving you with just a small daypack to carry.
* An extra hotel night in Aguas Calientes can be booked for you at an additional cost depending on the hotel you choose. Please note that if you wish to visit Machu Picchu again the following day, the additional cost of the entrance fee is not included
* Vistadome Service train (Superior) instead of the Expedition one (Tourist train), at an additional cost between US$ 20.00 to 30.00 per person. (*) Please note that our guide travels back to Cusco in the Expedition train in all group services, so if you wish to book this extra service, you will not be accompanied by our guide.
* Hiram Bingham Luxury train instead of the Expedition one (Tourist train), at an additional cost of US$ 350.00 per person. This train departs Aguas Calientes at 5.50pm and includes a gourmet dinner and animation on board, with an estimated arrival time to Poroy train station at 9.16pm. Please note that our guide travels back to Cusco in the Expedition train in all group services, so if you wish to book this extra service, you will not be accompanied by our guide
* Sleeping bag rent: US$ 20.00 / 4 days. Our sleeping bags are –18ºC-comfort (0ºF) and mummy form and include a sleeping liner. They are cleaned after every use.
* Therm-a-rest inflatable sleeping pad rent: US$ 20.00 / 4 days
* Massage sessions: US$60.00 per 1-hour session (US$50.00 per session if at least 2 sessions are booked). Our massage therapists have the highest recognition in Cusco and offer the following treatments: relaxing massage, stress-relieving massage, spinal column massage, energizing massage, Inca massage, altitude problems, aroma therapy, therapy with honey, therapy with glass, therapy with stones, foot reflexology, shiatzu, reiki and puddle of flowering. We recommend massage sessions before and after your trekking program. Services are at the hotel and are available in Cusco and Aguas Calientes (Machu Picchu).
The permits for Inca Trail Classic.- are so limited every year only 200 permits are available per day -FIRST COME, FIRST SERVE BASIS. You must book and pay a deposit well in advance. For high season (May to October, 6-5 months in advance. Low season November to April 4-3 months in advance. If there are no permits available, you can still hike the Lares Trail, Salkantay trek or do the Inca Jungle Adventure tour.
Ticket For Wayna Picchu Mountain.- (Those trekkers who wish to climb Wayna Picchu Mountain after they have finished hiking the Inca Trail hike, must let us know that the permits also are so limited, thus you have pay USD$ 70 pp so we can purchase your ticket for the 2nd turn at 10:00 am. (For students with ISIC card USD$40 pp). For high season (May to October, 4-2 months in advance. Low season November to April 2-1 months in advance.
Climate. – Cusco’s climate is divided into two differentiated seasons: the rainy season, from November to April (the heaviest rainfalls occurring usually between January – March); and the dry season, from May to October. The dry season is colder, so temperatures can drop to below 0 degrees at night.
Along the Inca Trail, temperatures range from 15-20ºC during the day if it’s sunny, to 05-10ºC during the day if not sunny or 0-05ºC at night in the first 2 campsites. At Wiñaywayna and Machupicchu, at lower altitude, temperatures are usually warmer though warm clothes are still recommended at night.
Appropriate clothing along this hike.- Hiking pants and T-shirts are recommended during the day, complemented by sweaters, fleeces and waterproof jackets. It is very convenient to have light raingear available in the daypack (rain poncho or jacket and/or rain pants) as the weather changes easily and rains can suddenly occur. At night, warm clothing is required, down jackets can be useful, otherwise a fleece and a jacket. During the fourth day (if sunny) and in Machupicchu, convertible hiking pants are useful, as can be switched into shorts if necessary. Machupicchu has a warm climate, getting only cold at night. The rest of necessary implements are included in the “What we recommend that you bring” list. Good quality, comfortable footwear is essential. Whatever you wear on your feet the most important thing is comfort. It is vital to ensure your boots are well worn in and lightweight. Ankle support and waterproofing is recommended but if you already have something comfortable with good grip on rocks then don’t go rushing out to buy new boots – you are better off with your well-worn in pair!
Fitness. – The Inca Trail is certainly not easy but you do not need to be an athlete or a trekking expert to complete it. Fitness is naturally important but it is the kind of trek that anyone with a positive attitude and determination can do. However the more fit you are the more you will enjoy the trail and the more chance you will have to take in the scenery and appreciate the Inca ruins dotted along the way. If you do not exercise regularly, it is advisable to do some extra walking or some kind of aerobic activity in the months leading up to your trip.
Many people worry whether they will be able to cope physically but complete failure is rare and would usually only result from severe altitude sickness or a person lacking even a basic level of fitness. Adults of all ages (from teenager to pensioner) complete the trek and age itself is no barrier if you are positive minded and live an active lifestyle. Before departing for your tour, we recommend visiting the doctor who will be able to provide you with more information.
If you are planning to take your children to Peru, please be advised that the minimum age for hiking the Inca Trail is 13 years old.
Staff & support. – The trek will be led by an experienced guide with extensive local historical and archaeological knowledge. You will pass many Inca Places along the way and your guide will conduct short tours wherever it is possible to do so. The cook will prepare three meals a day (while camping) plus provide hot drinks and snacks.
Equipment & campsites.- All camping gear (tents are two person) and cooking equipment is supplied (except sleeping bags). Each day the porters will overtake the group to arrive in camp well in advance. This gives them plenty of time to set up camp and start to prepare dinner. Tents are two person A-frame style and there is a communal dining tent for eating and staying dry – if it rains. Sleeping mats are provided and these will be laid out in the tents by the porters. When you get into camp you will be able to collect your duffle bag and access your clothes/toiletries. The porters usually also provide a small bowl of warm water, soap and a small flannel / towel for every person to wash their hands when reaching camp and each morning. Campfires are not permitted so there is not a lot to do after dinner and most people retire to bed early. Please note that campsites are subject to change depending on availability. You will be advised at the Inca Trail trek briefing of the exact campsites you will be staying at.
Toilets & showers.- There are toilet blocks (with ceramic squat toilets) dotted along the Inca trail.
These little blocks are usually well hidden from view and are surprisingly clean. Between these toilet blocks the only choice is to go ‘behind a bush’! Lunch stops are often made in the vicinity of a toilet block. Toilet blocks are usually available in camp on the second and third night. The location of camp on day one can vary and it is likely that you will have to use a toilet tent or the bush. Taking your own toilet roll is essential but it is important not to flush loo paper away. Showers are available at the campsite on day 3. On this night all trekkers camp at the same place so demand for the showers can be high, however as everyone arrives into camp at different times in the afternoon you may be lucky and not have to queue for too long.
Meals. – The food provided by the porters and cook is nothing short of amazing. Trekkers can expect a breakfast of omelettes or pancakes, a ‘takeaway’ snack pack of fruit or chocolate to eat mid morning, a two course lunch of soup and meat with pasta or rice, afternoon tea on arrival at camp with biscuits and popcorn and a three course dinner. Breakfast and dinner is accompanied by hot drinks (tea, coffee, chocolate) and lunch usually by cordial (other drinks e.g. soft drinks or beer are at your own expense and can be pricey on the trail). All food is prepared, served and cleared away by the cook and porters and the quality of the meals is quite something when you consider that all the ingredients and basic cooking equipment has been carried in. Trekkers will certainly not go hungry and special dietary requirements can be catered for if specified in advance. You will be able to buy bottled water on day 1 and 2 of the trek at various points along the way, after this you will refill your empty bottles from boiled water provided by the porters. Boiled water will be provided during the trek when it is possible to make camp.
Tipping. – Your porters, guides and cooks have amazing strength, stamina and skill and generally make your trek a thoroughly enjoyable and hassle-free experience. Most people would almost certainly not be able to complete the trek without them. It is therefore commonly accepted that the standard combined tip for guides, porters and cooks on the Inca Trail is US$40 per trekker.